As a Writer, What Are You NOT Good At?

You’re not good at everything … sorry. :(

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I think we’d all love to say we’re good at everything we do, especially when it comes to writing. The problem is, you’re not good at everything. As a writer, though, it can be difficult to figure out exactly which areas you can improve on, and how to do that. Here are a few things you can watch out for in your own writing.


What part of the writing process makes you procrastinate?

Psychologically, we procrastinate most often because we’re avoiding something we’re not looking forward to. For me, it’s research. If I have to write 10 listicles on topics I’m less familiar with, I know it’s going to take two hours to write one article instead of one – and that makes me put it off. I’m not good at that kind of research, and I don’t enjoy it enough to practice on my own. It’s a weakness. I’m not proud of it, but I’m willing to admit it’s a problem.

What about you? Do you worry about coming up with names for characters? Do you find it hard to create realistic conflict? Do you just struggle with writing things the way they sound in your head? All these things can silently persuade you to put writing off until the last possible second. That’s one way to know what you can improve on as a writer.


What do other writers do that you wish you could do, too?

I’m getting better, but I’m not nearly as good at crafting metaphors as many of my favorite writers are. Technically, even though I started out writing fiction, I’m much more practiced on the more technical, straightforward things. Reading John Green novels is both a joy and a pain for me – his prose is just so good. It would bother me that I can’t write like that, but it’s more of a motivator for me to work on my own style and adding a little color and flavor to my fiction.

This isn’t about copying someone else … it’s more about technique. In some ways, comparing yourself to other writers can be helpful, as long as you use it for inspiration and not to tear yourself down. When you read something, and your first thought is, “Wow, I wish I could write something like that,” you can use that to spend some of your writing time focusing on that particular area.


What do you rush through – or what takes you the longest?

This can go two ways. Either you rush through a part of the writing process just to get it over with, or you end up spending way more time on it than you feel you should. This can be another sign you need to work on a certain technique or skill. Editing is a good example of this. Either you skim through your drafts to catch any errors or you have to plan out extra time to go through sentence by sentence – and either one isn’t good use of your writing time.

A simple fix for this is to either force yourself to spend more time on something or train yourself to do it more quickly. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s a combination of quality writing/editing and better time management that helps you make the best use of the few hours you may have.


What are you “not good” at in your writing? Is this something you want to improve on? How do you think you can get better?


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Identify and Strengthen Weaknesses In Your Writing

What’s your biggest writing weakness?

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Writing is a process. Sometimes, as we craft a new story or go back to edit something we have already written, we realize there are parts of our work that seem weak. Incomplete, maybe, or lacking in some seemingly unidentifiable characteristic. These weaknesses are often hard to spot if you don’t know how to look for them. But others will notice them – yet you’re the only one who can strengthen them.

Here are a few steps you can take to identify and begin to strengthen weaknesses in your writing.


Monitor your writing struggles

As with anything, the first step to breaking a habit or changing a behavior is to identify what that habit or behavior is. You can do this by keeping track of your writing struggles. As you write, if you pay attention, you will notice seemingly small things you don’t like about your writing; things that distract you; things you want to change. It’s important to point these things out to yourself. In some cases, pinpointing your own writing flaws is beneficial in the long-term.

Which aspect of the writing process trips you up the most? You’ll know it if you look for it. It’s that thing that stops you even when you’re deep into a flow state. It’s the part of your writing that makes you cringe when you go back to read it later. It might even be the thing that often prevents you from getting any writing done at all. If it helps, write down that thing, or multiple things, that bothers you most about your writing. It will make the next step a little easier to work through.


Pick one writing weakness to improve upon

Writers are notoriously self-critical, which in some ways can help you raise your own bar and reach for higher achievements. This also means that, as you begin to look for weaknesses in your writing style or process, you might end up creating an entire list of characteristics, habits and behaviors you want to change. Really, there’s nothing wrong with this. As long as you don’t try to rush into ‘fixing’ every single one of these things right away.

Focus on just one thing at a time. Trying to work on improving multiple parts of your writing style or process at once can be overwhelming, which makes you more likely to give into the temptation to give up before you’ve made any progress. That might make you feel like you’re not making any progress or you’re advancing too slow, but be patient. It’s better to gradually improve on one weakness at a time than try and fail to be better at everything all at once.


Set goals and take it slow

Setting improvement goals means you are committing to improve upon an aspect of your writing you aren’t satisfied with. If you’ve identified one writing weakness you want to work on, such as incorporating better character development into your stories, you’ll want to make it a formal goal in order to motivate yourself to actually put effort into making that kind of change happen for yourself. If setting writing goals is your weakness, then make it a point to set more writing goals. Don’t just say you want to do something; take action steps. Make it happen.

Again, slow and steady is often the way of the successful writer. If you have ever read or written something that was done in a rush, you already know how negatively that can affect a person’s output. It’s the same idea with strengthening your weaknesses. It’s okay if progress is slow. That doesn’t mean you aren’t making any. It means you’re putting in the time and effort necessary to make a big change and improve your writing in the long-term. That’s a good thing. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

Always remember, regardless of how many ‘weaknesses’ your writing struggles with, that focusing on your strengths is just as important to your success, if not more so. If you’re having a hard time with a part of your writing process and it’s making you feel discouraged, counter that feeling by listing off a few things related to writing you’re really good at.

Stay positive. Keep working hard. The more you write, the better your writing becomes.


What’s your biggest writing weakness? Your biggest strength?


Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.